Modern Warfare 3 Single Player Review
Call Of Modern Warfare Duty
I recently bought it as part of a "5 games for £20" offer - for research purposes of course ;)
If you've never played an mw game before, then you might wonder what on earth the story is about, but trust me, it makes very little sense and carries on the fine tradition of this series' complete madness.
Then again, you probably won't care as the gameplay is so good.
If you've played Modern Warfare 1 or 2, then you know what to expect: continual gunfire, a breathless rush for the next objective, lots of massive explosions and the occasional change of pace ...before more explosions punctuate the moment, or an errant grenade kills you and throws you back to the most recent checkpoint.
The Modern Warfare saga is old school "run and gun", done with so much over-the-top cinematicness (is that a word) that the formula still works in the 21st Century.
Well, just about.
Is MW 3 just more of the same, is it worth your money, or is it time that Infinity Ward broke the mould and did something different for a change?
Read on to find out more.
As the ex Video Game Rockstar from Squidoo, I have a confession to make.
While I've played games for years, I have only rarely played multiplayer games and since I started playing games on Xbox, I've played single player games, exclusively.
There was a short time in one job, where a group of us used to play Half Life during our lunch hours (*cough*), but since then, I got married and got kids.
I just don't have the time or the money to plow into multiplayer gaming, any more.
So for that reason, this review will only cover the single player portion of MW3.
The original MW and I think it is probably still the best.
...Bother, I'm going to have to go back and play it again now to check!
Answer The Call of Duty
When I first played MW 1 (or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, as it was then known), I was bowled over by its fun and completely over the top interpretation of the "soldier game".
While it was a First Person Shooter, it took all the classic FPS ideas and stood them on their head.
All semblance of a simulation was thrown out the window and replaced by an arcade game.
Instead of a slower, tactical approach, it took the "run and gun" mechanic of the most popular FPS games and turned it up to about 500%.
It forced you to keep pushing forward, by continually sending new enemies at you, until you either ran out of ammo or made it to the next checkpoint.
The checkpoints ensured you never had to break the illusion by having to save your game, and were spaced far enough apart to give you a challenge, while simultaneously imparting the buzz of constant progress.
They then slapped a load of Hollywood style set-pieces onto the beginning and end of each mission (and sometimes in the middle too), cooked up an incredibly silly story with several different soldier types to play throughout, and they had a winner on their hands.
My favourite parts were several sections where you stopped being a foot soldier and took over the chain gun on a helicopter or became a gunner on a high altitude bomber, providing cover to your "men" through a bird's eye view infrared filter.
If you like multiplayer battles with huge numbers of players and massive areas to fight in, then you can't go wrong with this.
Battlefield has been the main competitor for Call of Duty, ever since the year dot.
Modern Warfare Blues
Then Modern Warfare 2 came out.
I bought it, played it and then took it back to the shop, while MW 1 stayed in my collection.
The reason: number 2 was just more of the same, with my favourite bits taken out and with some horrible "controversial" material thrown in.
This gave you one mission where you became a terrorist and took part in an attack on an airport.
You were supposed to be an undercover agent, but I found the whole thing very distasteful.
Yes, this is a game where violence is directed at uncounted foes, but this was to my mind, a most cynical way of trying to grab gamers' attentions.
The idea may have been to increase sales by making it more "mature", but to it just served to cheapen the whole thing, even though you could skip the bad stuff if you wanted.
The only good thing (if I can use the word) about those sections, is that it made me think about what I was doing with my soldier and impressed on me that shooting civilians was a bad thing.
That said, I'm not convinced that some other gamers would have cared either way.
If you want slow and tactical, instead of fast and mad, then this soldier sim could be for you.
Watch out though, it's rock hard.
A New Chapter
So Modern Warfare 3, is it more of the same?
Well, yes it is in one sense, but no, they seem to have recaptured some of the magic of MW 1.
They still have some controversial content in there but somehow, the disc stayed in the drive until I finished the game.
I found myself smiling and laughing at most of it, even as I shook my head in disbelief at the craziness of it all.
I was rolling my eyes and saying to myself, "Oh no, don't tell me my squad have been killed/blown up/broken down/chopper destroyed [insert ridiculous plot point here] - yet again?"
The graphics are starting to show their age now, but the sheer pace of the game means that you won't really be looking at them other than to say, "that was a cool fireball", or suchlike.
Adrenaline will, as always, keep you playing and those pesky checkpoints will ensure you have one more go, every time you bite the dust.
It's best not to play it late at night, as you will lose sleep over it.
The sound is as good as ever, with continual radio chatter and shouts from your squad mates, some of which can be quite helpful (e.g. "grenade!"...)
The intros and outros to the missions are all top notch, getting you pumped up for the fight and the atmosphere makes you feel like you are in the middle of a crazy warzone from start to finish.
Of course, it's all an illusion, more action movie than simulation.
It's a strictly linear path from A to B, there's no real thinking or tactics involved, but it's a great illusion, nonetheless.
In the future, I'd like to see the developer put their skills towards something with a bit more thought involved, like commanding your squad, a more open world or taking a less scripted approach to everything.
But for the moment, this will do, and it does very well indeed.
The important thing is that it's still fun and that's what games are all about.
This trailer gives you a flavour of the game without giving the game away, so to speak.
© 2014 Tim Bader